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The Week in Reviews, Op. 17: Janine Jansen, Philippe Quint, Joshua Bell in concert

Robert Niles

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Published: February 4, 2014 at 9:06 PM [UTC]

In an effort to promote the coverage of classical music, each week brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world. We'd love to hear about any recent concerts and recitals you've attended, too. Or just tell us what you think about these reviews!

Hilary Hahn performed the Nielsen with the Los Angeles Philharmonic

  • "It was musically challenging, presented with fire and precision, by an intelligent and thoughtful artist."
  • Los Angeles Times: "Hahn now has embraced the concerto and made it her own, which is to say that she plays fast and furious and with exceptional fluidity. She wraps the concerto's tunes, and they are winners, in her gorgeous tone. She doesn't bother with Nielsen's Danish insecurity."

Janine Jansen
Janine Jansen

Janine Jansen performed the Brahms with the London Symphony Orchestra

  • Music OMH: "Soloist Janine Jansen brought a sense of involvement and depth of emotion to the piece that proved thrilling to witness."
  • The Arts Desk: "Speaking of blazing, Janine Jansen plunged so dramatically into the attack following the huge orchestral introduction of Brahms' Violin Concerto that she forced a lapse in tuning that was as startling as it was uncharacteristic. It mattered not a jot in the context of that explosive first entry and it demonstrated the risks she would be taking to bring this wonderful concerto off the page and maximise its theatrical extremes."
  • London Evening Standard: "Delivering her solo part with a kind of inward-looking freedom, she gave the impression that, while the notes were under her fingers and in her muscles, she was still thinking as she played."

Gil Shaham performed the Korngold with the Houston Symphony Orchestra

  • ConcertoNet: "The violinist exuded sheer pleasure in the wonderful music he was making, shuffling, smiling and endlessly communicating with the musicians of the orchestra, who responded with the richest foundation for Shaham to fiddle above."

Midori performed Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

  • Kalamazoo Gazette: "Midori's intelligence opened new avenues to Shostakovich's genius."

Maxim Vengerov performed the Britten with the London Symphony Orchestra

  • The Telegraph: "He was a marvel, brilliantly light-fingered, and with a tremulously intense tone that made the work's subterranean affinities to Prokofiev and Shostakovich stand out with amazing clarity."

Philippe Quint performed Saint-Saëns' Violin Concerto No. 3 with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Democrat & Chronicle: "Exhibiting a quiet charisma and fluid phrasing, Quint was intuitive without being sentimental, demonstrative without being egotistical."

Pinchas Zukerman performed the Beethoven with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

  • The Daily Californian: "While the orchestra constructed a rich and beautiful setting, Zukerman's violin felt like a technicolor brush on blank canvas at times."

Sarah Chang performed the Bruch with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic

  • The Oklahoman: "It was a performance that didn't fully showcase her prodigious talents."

Joshua Bell performed the Mendelssohn with the National Symphony Orchestra

  • The Baltimore Sun: "By this point in his career, Bell must have played the Mendelssohn concert three billion times, but you'd never know it."
  • The Washington Post: "Bell — as has so often been the case in my experience — made lovely sounds but played sloppily, with cute, little ornamental fillips offsetting smeared runs and intonation that always seemed to approach the note slightly from below and not always to get all the way up to the center of the pitch. The audience, however, did not appear to share my reservations, and leapt to its feet when the soloist was done."

Anne-Sophie Mutter performed Mozart violin concertos Nos. 2, 3 and 5 with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra

  • The Australian: "Mutter believes Mozart's fifth violin concerto is his crowning achievement in the form. Her bold, spirited performance certainly made it sound like that."
  • Jewish Australian News Service: "An audience bonus was viewing a continually changing front, side and back view of a woman as beautiful as the music she brings forth."

Jennifer Frautschi performed the Mendelssohn with the Alabama Symphony

  • The Birmingham News: "Except for a few stray squeaks and squawks, this was an impressive technical display, highlighted by an expressive first movement cadenza."

William Hagen performed Saint-Saëns' Violin Concerto No. 3, with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

  • Dallas Morning News: "He tossed off the most virtuosic passages of the Saint-Saëns with amazing precision, but he also made music — not mere whizzings of notes."
  • TheaterJones: "Hagen tossed it off with the same sheer joy of making music that caused everyone to sit up and take notice in 2012."

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